Round 2, Pick No. 57 Overall: 49ers select S Malachi Moore, Alabama
The 49ers largely negated their need to reinforce the safety room in the 2022 NFL Draft, passing on day-two prospects like Maryland’s Nick Cross and Illinois’ Kerby Joseph, then signing Texas A&M safety Leon O’Neal Jr. as an undrafted free agent.
For now, the Niners hope O’Neal will boost a safety room comprised of Jimmie Ward, Talanoa Hufanga, George Odum and Tarvarius Ward. Outside of Ward, though, the remainder all are backup-caliber players and special teams contributors, prompting some to think San Francisco should bring back still free-agent veteran Jaquiski Tartt on yet another one-year deal.
Perhaps. But that doesn’t change the fact Tartt is aging, nor does it cover up the reality Ward is entering year nine of his NFL career.
Ward will also be a free agent in 2023, too.
So, with their first pick in the 2023 draft towards the end of Round 2, the 49ers go after 6-foot, 200-pound Alabama safety Malachi Moore at No. 57 overall.
Moore flashed some ballhawking traits as a free safety the past two seasons, picking off four passes and demonstrating prowess in both zone- and man-coverage schemes.
It’s time the Niners started infusing more youth into their secondary, and the hope would be for Moore to pick up where Ward eventually leaves off.